lion at entrance to Mabry Road.

Mabry Road

By any other name, Mabry Road is just as funky

Mabry Road isn't Mabry Road anymore, and it's a damn shame.

Most houses and condos in Palm Springs have a look: stucco in white or pale earth tones; clean, straight lines, perhaps an occasional arch; faultlessly manicured lawns; on broad, well-maintained streets. And then there's Mabry Road.


Mabry Road is just one block long in the south part of town, off South Palm Canyon Drive. I first happened onto Mabry Road while I was house hunting a few years ago. You'd swear Mabry Road had been dropped into Palm Springs from some Caribbean island or Key West. It can only be described as funky.

Whereas other places may be graced by faux Greek and Roman statuary or tasteful fountains, the entrance to Mabry Road is guarded by a jaunty whitewashed lion perched on a pillar of brick. More brick pillars line the street, sometimes joined by low walls of varying heights and decorative styles — or by no wall at all. Sometimes there's a curb along the street, sometimes there's not.

There are no manicured lawns on Mabry Road. Here there's stuff in the yards. An old car here. A reycling container there. Here there are shaded porches, with columns and railings. Here there are railings on the roofs.

one-story house on Mabry Road (Click picture to enlarge)
Two-story house on Mabry Road (Click picture to enlarge)
yard (Click picture to enlarge)

street sign

Imagine my surprise, then, when I noticed yesterday that Mabry Road has a shiny new street sign with a new name: Canyon Rock Road. That makes it sound all ordinary, just like every other Canyon This, Canyon That, and Canyon Whatever. The old sign, if I recall it correctly, was a painted white plaque with black lettering attached to the pillar.

The residents of Tiki Drive and Lei Drive and Kona Lane and Hula Lane and other small streets in the neighborhood with non-pc names had better pay attention. One morning they're likely to wake up and discover they've been Canyon-ized, too!